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PlanetSKI’s Summer Gear Review

It may be awkward to get to the Alps at the moment, but summer is around the corner and restrictions are set to lift in June. Take a look at our top tips for gear this summer – in the Alps or here in the UK.

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Hanwag Belorado II Tubetec GTX Trail Shoes – £170

These lightweight trail shoes from Hanwag are ideal for hard summer hikes in the mountains thanks to the sturdy build quality and the rugged, grippy soles.

The Belorado’s ‘TubeTec’ sole construction features a special lightweight midsole with extra cushioning for added comfort, and unlike traditional EVA soles it incorporates shock-absorbing PU (polyurethane) into the construction to provide long term ‘bounce-back’ and stop the soles collapsing.

In addition, a TPU (thermopolyurethan) outer ‘tube’ is used to protect the inner PU and ensure the sole unit is longer-lasting, harder-wearing and ideal for walking on rough, uneven terrain as well as providing better stability underfoot, which is further enhanced by the excellent grip and traction of the outsole.

You can feel the shoes’ grippiness and support as soon as you hit the trail, and a robust polyamide upper helps to keep the weight down, whilst a Gore-Tex lining keeps your feet dry in both wet and hot conditions.

A tough TPU toe cap provides good protection for both your feet and the shoes, and there’s webbing reinforcements around the midfoot to give additional support.

The whole package provides a great combination of comfort, support and protection, and the Belorado’s also look good; well worth checking out if budget isn’t a major consideration.

Verdict: Good looking trail shoes which do a great job, albeit at a price.

View product here.

Hanwag Belorado II Tubetec GTX Trail Shoes in red/black- £170

Hanwag Belorado II Tubetec GTX Trail Shoes – £170

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks – £20

The last thing you want on warm sunny days it to be hiking in thick summer socks and getting horribly sweaty feet, which is where the Darn Tough Lite Hiker comes in.

It features mesh zones on top of the foot for maximum breathability along with ‘Flex Zones’ that improve fit, whilst reinforced cushioning extends over the Achilles area to provide increased comfort, and a smooth, narrow rib up the lower leg prevents the socks from sliding down your ankle and rucking up.

Add to that the soft, comfy Merino wool construction and this is a great option for those long, sunny summer hikes.

Verdict: Soft, comfy and breathable – just what you need in summer hiking socks.

View product here.

Darn Tough socks

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks – £20

GP Batteries’ Charge AnyWay power solution – £25

If you’re travelling this summer and want to be sure you can charge up your electronic devices without a hitch the Charge AnyWay is a great option – not only does it act as a power bank, it also double-up as a battery charger.

And it can be used with recyclable lithium-free batteries, which is good news if you’re travelling by air since lithium batteries are banned on ‘planes.

The power bank features patented charging technology that maximises the recharging power supply, and features an output port to charge your smart devices.

It is compatible with both rechargeable and single-use batteries, whilst the battery charger features a standard USB port to liberate you from bulky wall sockets, allowing you to recharge your device pretty much anywhere and anytime.

The whole shebang is small enough to easily fit into a carry-on bag, daypack or even a decent-sized pocket.

Verdict: If you can’t afford to be without power for your electronic devices this is a top option.

View product here.

Charge anyway packaging

GP Batteries’ Charge AnyWay power solution – £25

Picture Foxer long-sleeve T – £55

The Foxer is part of Picture’s range of eco-friendly high-performance tops, and features 93 per-cent recycled polyester along with 7 per cent elastane to give plenty of stretch and freedom of movement.

It’s also has body mapping construction, with ‘Dry Now’ underarm panels to keep moisture i.e. sweat away plus ‘Dry Feel’ anti-microbial treatment and flatlock seams for extra comfort.

Two design options are available, one more muted than the other (which I preferred) so there should be something to suit most tastes, and although designed as a summer top I’d be more than happy to use it as a winter base layer too.

Verdict: Stylish, versatile top with a good range of technical features.

View product here.

Picture shirt

Picture Foxer long-sleeve T – £55

Arc’teryx Gamma SL lightweight hoodie – £140

For a lot of summer hiking you don’t need a heavy, bulky waterproof, which is where the Arc’teryx Gamma SL comes in – it’s superlight and packable, but the durable, four-way stretch Fortius 1.0 material from which its made is water and wind resistant and breathable, making it versatile enough for most summer hikes and forays into the hills.

Features are relatively limited give the nature of the Gamma SL and consist of an adjustable hood, full-length zip and zippered hand pockets plus adjustable hem and stretch cuffs.

It comes in a range of relatively muted colours and the good looks of the Gamma mean you’ll look just as cool in the pub after your hike as you do on the hill.

Verdict: The Gamma is ideal for lightweight, bulk-free summer hiking.

View product here.

Arc’teryx Gamma

Arc’teryx Gamma SL lightweight hoodie – £140

Julbo Renegade sunglasses – £115

The Renegade is a stylish, good looking pair of sunnies that look great both on the hill and in town, and best of all they come with Julbo’s renowned Zebra Light Fire photochromic lenses which get darker or lighter depending on light intensity, spanning UV protection categories 1 to 3 – especially useful in the UK where light conditions can change so regularly.

What’s more, the optically-perfect NXT lens material has ultra-fast activation speed, exceptional anti-fog coating, a hydrophobic coating on the outside, and won’t shatter, so they’re ideal for outdoor activities where the going can get tough from time to time.

The fit is superb, as good as I’ve ever come across – the frame has a curved, wrapping design for comfort and grip, and is very light, and virtually zero light get in at the sides of the frame, which can be an issue with badly fitting frames. They also come with a useful carry case and soft bag, and overall the Julbo Renegades are some of the best sunglasses I’ve worn in recent years.

Verdict: Top notch sunnies which work superbly for all outdoor activities.

View product here.

Julbo Renegade

Julbo Renegade sunglasses – £115

Exped Cloudburst waterproof backpack – £49

In summer you don’t always need a big and bulky pack for days out, which is where the Exped Cloudburst comes in – its superlight at just 240g and can be rolled up and stashed away easily when not in use, but it has a 25-litre capacity (enough for easy day hikes and full-day mountain biking and gravel biking, for instance) and it is fully-waterproof.

The Cloudburst features a roll-top closure, which admittedly isn’t as convenient for accessing your stuff quickly, but it does ensure cloudbursts stay on the outside of the Cloudburst (sorry…), whilst hardwearing 70-denier PU coated fabric and taped seams add to the weather resistance.

The harness is made from breathable mesh and the chest and waist straps are very minimalist, and there’s a generously-sized bungee for additional exterior storage, all completing a tidy little lightweight package.

Verdict: Ideal for less-demanding and/or fast and light days on the hill.

View product here.

Exped Cloudburst

Exped Cloudburst waterproof backpack – £49

Maier Raindrop waterproof over trousers – £90

The Raindrop is a well-thought-out pair of overtrousers that actually feel more like regular pants – I’d be happy to wear them all day long rather than just using them when the rain starts to fall.

The waterproof, breathable fabric is soft to the feel and touch and features a mesh lining for additional comfort and wicking, and it has a water-repellent PFC-free finish to further keep the rain at bay.

The pants have a good range of features too – Velcro-adjustable waist, zipped fly, two zippered hand pockets, three-quarter-length side zips for easy on and off, Velcro-adjustable cuffs (so you can wear them for cycling) and reflective stripes on the lower leg, which is far more than a lot of overtrousers. They also come with their own stuff sac.

Verdict: Comfortable overtrousers full of useful features.

mens Raindrop waterproof over trousers

Maier Raindrop waterproof over trousers – £90

Arc’teryx Norvan LD shoes – £140

The Norvan ain’t cheap, but it’s great lightweight all-terrain shoe for summer use, whether trail running, hiking or just hanging out. They provide excellent breathability at the time of year when you need it most, and the light weight of these shoes means you hardly notice you’re wearing them.

Even so they’re rugged enough to withstand harsh treatment on the trail – the Vibram Megagrip outsole provides plenty of grip and underfoot protection, and I particularly liked the outers which despite their smooth, non-bulky design give good protection and support – the bellows tongue also does a good job of keeping trail debris out of the shoes.

On top of all this the Norvan’s understated good looks mean that they look as cool when worn with jeans down the pub as they do on the hill.

Verdict: Cool (in both senses of the word) and stylish summer trail shoes.

View product here.

Arcteryx Norvan

Arc’teryx Norvan LD shoes – £140

Danner Trail 2650 shoes – £140

The Trail 2650 is a really stylish offering from Danner that focusses on stability – it uses the innovative technique of shifting the heel counter (the bit that holds your heel and foot in place) to the outside of the shoe.

This features a softer material than traditional rigid heel counters that are placed within the shoe, thus keeping the 2650 nice and light at the same time as ensuring your feet are secure in the shoe, thus reducing the chances of slippage and blisters.

The forefoot is wider than normal, which is good for traditionally wide British feet, whilst an ultra-lightweight EVA foam midsole provides plenty of cushioning, and the midsole is formed around a TPU shank that guards your foot in loose terrain and provides torsional strength for stability as well as maximising weight savings while maintaining protection, stability and durability.

Add to that great looks and a wide and varied range of colours and you’ll be hard pressed not to find a model of the Trail 2650 that works for you.

Verdict: A thoughtfully-designed, good-looking trail shoe.

View product here.

Danner shoes

Danner Trail 2650 shoes – £140

Páramo Maui shorts – £60

The Maui shorts from Paramo are lightweight, well-specced and versatile – they look good both on the hill and in town.

They’re especially good for summer since they feature cool, protective and durable Parameta A Cotton+ fabric, which will stop you from overheating and take all the knocks of a hard day in the hills.

The cut is ergonomic for easy movement, and there are plenty of pockets – a large, map-sized cargo pocket on the right leg with Velcro flap and internal, zippered security pocket for passport/credit cards etc., two hand pockets and a rear zippered pocket.

The elasticated waistband also has belt loops for a secure fit, and the material can be treated with Nikwax to improve water repellency.

Verdict: Versatile, lightweight and stylish shorts for urban and outdoor action.

View product here.

Maier Huang shorts – £70

I’ve got to mention this as it’s so funny – the shorts I was sent for review had a 54” waist, so the info below is not based on actually wearing them as they were literally big enough that I could fit inside one leg!

Which is a shame as they come with pretty much all the features I look for in a pair of shorts – nice, cheerful blue ‘Dryprotec’ fabric which is four-way stretch and quick drying, the latter assisted by a water-repellent PFC-free finish, two hand pockets, one rear pocket and one cargo pocket, all with zips, and a lightweight webbing belt for a secure fit.

Plus, if you’re the size of a house you’ll still find a pair to fit!

Verdict: Quick-drying shorts with all the essential features for a day on the hills.

View product here.

mens Huang shorts

Maier Huang shorts – £70

Summer Gear - 2020 Alf

Summer Gear – 2020

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